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Press Release

Gang Member Sentenced to 34 Years in Prison for RICO Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Douglas Ashby, 29, of Newport News, was sentenced today to 412 months in prison for a racketeering conspiracy. Ashby’s sentence will run consecutive to a 10 year sentence on an earlier federal firearms conviction.

Ashby plead guilty on Nov. 12, 2015. According to court documents, Ashby was a member of the Newport News street gang “Thug Relations”, which engaged in the distribution of marijuana and crack cocaine.  The gang established dominance over the drug trade in its territory through violence and intimidation, which included physical assaults, home invasions, and numerous shootings, some of which resulted in murders.  In particular, Ashby admitted his involvement in the murder of Aaron Sumler, because the victim and a friend had been selling cocaine in the area of Aqueduct Apartments, which was part of Thug Relations territory.  Further, Ashby participated in two other home invasion robberies or attempted robberies which resulted in the wounding of one victim and the death of another caused by another robbery participant.  Ashby also participated in two additional shooting incidents.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division; and John S. Adams, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Howard J. Zlotnick, Lisa R. McKeel, Brian Samuels, and Trial Attorney Yvonne L. Garcia of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:14-cr-59.

Updated March 15, 2016

Violent Crime